Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: Havok - Time Is Up (2011)

Havok [ Website | MySpace | Facebook ]
Time Is Up
Candlelight Records

The glorious resurgence of '80s thrash has been churning out quite a number of retro outfits over the past couple of years, all clambering to revitalize one of metal's most identifiable and storied sub-genres. Inevitably, the justifiable comparisons to Testament, Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica, Exodus, etc. etc. are made as each new album hits the streets. Some bands dutifully ape these metal legends while others strive to add just a bit of contemporary style to that familiar old-school sound. With Time Is Up, their second full-length album, Denver's Havok manages to skillfully invoke the Bay Area ghosts while adding just enough modern touches to avoid being dismissed as a clone.

If I had to sum up Havok, and Time Is Up, in one word it would be intense. These four Coloradans can shred, strum, flail and kick like metalheads possessed, and Time Is Up is all the more stronger for it. There are no ballads on this album, nor are there any atmospheric interludes or lame breakdowns. From the opening chords of "Prepare For Attack" to the final cymbal crash of the title track, Time Is Up is a relentless assault of pure thrash metal. Do not expect innovation here, for Havok do not consider themselves trendsetters. Do, however, expect to be whipped into a headbanging frenzy by Reece Scruggs' swirling solos and David Sanchez' throat-shredding vocals.

While Time Is Up is consistently relentless, there are a couple of tracks that remain in memory long after the album has completely victimized you. "Fatal Intervention" finds Scruggs and Sanchez (who also wields a six-string) infusing a little more melody into their riffs. Though the song still sails along at a blistering pace, some of the riffs have that classic chug to them that thrash fans of old have come to know and love. There's an Iron Maidenish twin-guitar attack to open "D.O.A.", and you'll find yourself mindlessly chanting the chorus of "Killing Tendencies".

Bolstered by a robust production courtesy of none other than James Murphy, Time Is Up is a pure thrash album that every fan of the style absolutely must have in their collection.

Track Listing
1Prepare For Attack4:09
2Fatal Intervention4:40
3No Amnesty3:42
5Covering Fire4:27
6Killing Tendencies5:44
7Scumbag In Disguise4:46
8The Cleric4:58
9Out Of My Way3:32
10Time Is Up4:12
Total Runtime44:06

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